My Second post on Greater Coucal or Crow Pheasant (Centropus sinensis). These regular visitors to my garden are not much scared of my presence, as the pictures show.
Greater Coucals are as big as a crow, with reddish brown wings and unmissable red eyes. They are found in wide range of habitats from jungle to urban gardens and are residents of Indian subcontinent. These birds forage on the ground or among the foliage for insects, lizards etc.
During breeding season, they appear in pairs. Greater coucal has a deep resonant “khoomp-khoomp-khoomp…” sound. In the early mornings I can hear a pair calling out, one responding to the other.
The deep calls are associated with superstitious beliefs of spirits and ill omens, though irrational! In my State the sight of this bird is considered as a good omen!!
Not many may like these slimy critters, except the naturalists among you! These are residents in my garden. Mariaella is a genus of air-breathing land slugs and a gastropod (the base of the stomach used as ‘foot’). A mantle replaces the shell, covering almost all dorsal side.
The Tropical Leatherleaf (Laevicaulis alte) is another land slug; a dark-coloured mollusk with no shell, 7 or 8 cm long. The tentacles are small, 3-4 mm long. It is believed to be an introduced species and invasive. It lives in dry areas and has several adaptations for dry conditions, though very active during wet seasons.
These common slugs of Karnataka are found in human-dominated areas. They feed on vegetation and can be serious pests to horticultural crops. However, I haven’t seen much damage done to my garden plants by them.
Blue Mormon butterfly (Papilio polymnestor) belongs to the group of Swallowtail butterflies and is endemic to South India and Sri Lanka. They are fairly large and seen throughout the year.
I have seen the butterfly attracted to Ixora and Pagoda flowers in my garden for feeding, as is evident in these pictures. Hibiscus and Jasmine also are preferred food source. But the host plant for the larvae is Citrus plant.
The life cycle is similar to other swallowtails, with the caterpillar passing through five instars before the metamorphosis. If interested, you can view my posts on Common Mormon and Lime butterfly to see some stages of life cycle.
Blue Mormon is the State butterfly of the Indian state of Maharashtra.
It’s the life of a Lime butterfly (Papilio demoleus)….the cycle that is completed in my garden. I could get all stages but eggs.
The common names, Lime butterfly or Lemon butterfly, refer to their host plants, which are usually citrus species such as the cultivated lime.
The caterpillars are voracious eaters and pass through five instars (stages) before pupating. My citrus plant was pretty much ravaged by them. Here I am presenting only two stages.
After the last stage, the caterpillar stays immobile and secretes a liquid to form the pupal case that hangs from the stem of the plant with a silky thread or girdle. The butterfly emerges after nine days from the pupa.
This is my third post of Dragonflies. I have two types of dragonflies here, from my garden! Friends? Oh yes…they are predators of other flies that are pests.
The common picture wing (Rhyothemis variegata) or variegated flutterer, is a species of dragonfly with colorful wings tinted with pale yellow. There are a few black spots and patches, which are more pronounced in females than in males. These are called as “Onathumpi”, in my native language.
Orange-winged dropwing, alias Scarlet rock glider (Trithemis kirbyi) is a scarlet dragonfly with a broad reddish amber patch on the base of transparent wings. The females differ being duller.
Most probably these dragonflies are visitors to my garden, knowing their natural habitats which are wetlands.
What’s that…feathers sticking to a flower?!! Do not get fooled, that is a bug from my garden…the bagworm.
Bagworms are a type of small moths belonging to Psychidae. Larvae form characteristic silken cases covered with bits of leaves, twigs, and other debris. Here she is more concerned about the beauty of her case, hence decoration with soft feathers! 🙂
These moths pupate in the larval case after it is attached to a substratum. In most species, the female does not leave the case, as it lacks wings and has only rudimentary parts. The male bagworm emerges as a freely flying moth.
The adult’s life span is too short. Males live for only 2-3 days. Females lay eggs in the larval case itself and die. Once the eggs hatch, larvae crawl out to form their own cases.
Rose-ringed parakeets (Psittacula krameri) are regular visitors to my garden. They land on my Caesalpinia plant (Peacock flower plant) in small groups or in pairs to feast on the seeds. They are definitely a noisy lot!
We can easily identify the male and female birds. Males have a black-red neck band and females don’t. They have long tail feathers and very pleasing green plumage. In fact, it has given rise to the phrase ‘parrot-green’ to refer to that particular shade of green.
Rose-ringed parakeets are least threatened and have adapted well to changing habitats. I believe they can be trained to talk when caged and kept as a pet!
Here is a pair of lovely rose-ringed parakeets captured in my garden; the pictures were captured in a continuous series.
Let us meet friends from my garden once again. This time I will introduce Lynx spiders.
Most species of lynx spiders do not use webs and they spend time hiding under leaves and waiting to ambush the prey. Most of them have large spiny bristles on their legs that may assist in confining the prey in their grasp.
Lynx spiders are very agile and have a small body of barely 1cm, with long legs. They have very good eyesight with 8 eyes! Generally they run away from predators. Though they rarely bite human beings, a bite can cause swellings on the body part.